Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken announced today that it is shutting down its operations in Japan citing a “weak crypto market globally” a month after the company announced global layoffs.

The company said that it will cease operations and deregister from the Financial Services Agency by Jan. 31, 2023. Kraken stated that clients will have to fully remove their funds from the exchange by that time.

“The decision is part of Kraken’s efforts to prioritize resources and investments in those areas that align with our strategy and will best position Kraken for long term success,” the company said in a statement. “Current market conditions in Japan in combination with a weak crypto market globally mean the resources needed to further grow our business in Japan aren’t justified at this time.”

The company added that the exchange is fully funded and all client holdings are available for withdrawal. Clients can withdraw their holdings are crypto or to external bank accounts and there are no withdrawal limits.

On Jan. 9, deposit functionality will be deactivated. Although trading functions will remain in operation.

Kraken’s Japanese exchange operations are run by its subsidiary Payward Asia Inc. This marks the second time that the same subsidiary has pulled out of Japan. It had previously operated in the country from 2014 to 2018, when it ceased operations in April 2018 to focus on other geographic regions. It relaunched operations in 2020.

The decision comes a month after the company laid off 30% of its workforce, or approximately 1,100 employees.

At the time, Kraken’s co-founder Jessie Powell said that “macroeconomic and geopolitical factors” and ongoing bear markets leading to lowered trading volumes on the exchange had created the need for the exchange to reduce its workforce.

Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market cap, has lost over 60% of its value since the beginning of this year, as part of what a bear market dubbed “crypto winter.” Troubles for the crypto markets began with the collapse of the TerraUSD stablecoin ecosystem, which led to a string of high-profile bankruptcies including the crypto lender Celsius Network and the hedge fund Three Arrows Capital. These conditions have only been exacerbated by the implosion of the crypto exchange FTX.

Image: vjkombajn/Pixabay

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